Deadline Day

By Brad Constant, March 5, 2014

We’re only a couple of hours away from the National Hockey League’s trade deadline, which is today at 3 p.m. Eastern. But NHL teams have been busy over the last week or so, and some big names have already been moved.

St. Louis to Rangers

The latest trade has taken Tampa Bay Lightning star Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers in exchange for the now former Rangers’ captain Ryan Callahan, a 2014 conditional second-round draft pick and a 2015 first-round pick. It was well known that St. Louis had put in a request to be traded. We aren’t sure of all of the reasons, but it’s safe to say the St. Louis original exclusion from the 2014 Canadian Olympic Team didn’t help. That decision came from Canadian General Manager Steve Yzerman, who just so happens to be the Lightning’s GM.

This decision makes sense for both teams in our opinion. St. Louis will provide scoring for the Rangers while Callahan is a gritty, hard-working forward that can put the puck in the net too. Plus the Lightning are getting Steven Stamkos back from injury, which more than makes up for losing St. Louis’ goal scoring.

Luongo to Panthers

Tuesday’s big deal included Roberto Luongo returning to the Florida Panthers. He was traded from the Vancouver Canucks along with forward Steven Anthony. The Canucks received goalie Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthais. To be honest, this trade only makes sense for the Panthers and Luongo, who still owns a home and has family in Florida.

The Panthers are looking to become Stanley Cup contenders and now have the financial backing to make that happen. So taking on Luongo’s huge contract was feasible. The trade now gives them a potentially stellar goaltending tandem, depending on whether or not Tim Thomas can keep performing well. We know Luongo will remain consistent as he has year after year.

For Vancouver this could spell the start of a rebuilding era. When we look back to last season, when they had stud goaltenders Luongo and Cory Schnieder, the team had to make a decision on which guy to go with. Luongo’s contract was too big to move at the time, so the team moved Schneider, who is now the main guy for the New Jersey Deveils. Now they’ve gone and moved the guy that they stuck with as their number one. It doesn’t make sense!

The Canucks are now left with the young Eddie Lack, who has potential but hasn’t shown that he can provide the type of consistency that Luongo has, and the young Markstrom, who has had plenty of opportunities in Florida to shine but hasn’t really stepped up. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Canucks moving forward, especially since there are rumors that they are trying to move forward Ryan Kesler.

More goalies moved

More goalies were moved yesterday with Ilya Bryzgalov going to the Minnesota Wild and Viktor Fasth being shipped to the Edmonton Oilers.

Bryzgalov’s move now gives the Wild a veteran goalie to back up young Darcy Kuemper, who has shined since taking over for the injured Niklas Backstrom and the sick Josh Harding. You really can’t go wrong with Bryzgalov and his experience. Just don’t get him talking about the universe.

For Edmonton, the acquiring of Fasth now gives them a major upgrade over what the team started the season with. Especially after the Oilers just signed Ben Scrivens to a contract extension. The Oilers traded a 2013 third-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings for Scrivens in January. The move has turned out to be a smart one now that they’ve added Fasth. Scrivens and Fasth have the potential to be a great goalie pairing going into the future.

Sens get busy

The Ottawa Senators have also been busy today as they make a push for the playoffs. The team has signed defenseman Chris Phillips to a two-year contract extension, they’ve put Cory Conacher on waivers – he has been picked up by the Buffalo Sabres – and they acquired forward Ales Hemsky from the Edmonton Oilers.

Putting Conacher on waivers doesn’t really make sense. But signing Phillips to an extension and adding Hemsky does, especially since the team is fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Ryan Miller moved

The other really big trade happened last Friday, February 28, when the Sabres traded star-goalie Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues. In return the Sabres got goalie Jaroslav Halak, – who may very well be moved again – forward Chris Stewart, forward William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2016 conditional third-round pick.

Way to go St. Louis! Miller is a stud, arguably one of the best goalies in the NHL, and now he is on one of the better teams in the league. This is a great move by the Blues.

Stay tuned for more trade action. There are two hours left and we can guarantee that there will be some more news.

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Latest NHL news; Monday, January 13

By Brad Constant; Jan. 13, 2013

We’ll get things started off with an update on Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos, who is making great progress after breaking his leg in early November. Here is the bleacherreport.com story.

Lastly, the Washington Capitals gave us a feel-good story by granting the wish of young Braden Nienaber, who was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a rare childhood disease similar to cancer in which white blood cells multiply too quickly, causing bone and organ damage, according to csnwashington.com. You can check out the CSN story here for all of the details. But be sure to watch the video of Nienaber throwing Buffalo Sabres’ Captain Steven Ott out of the ceremonial faceoff.

Kid throws Ott out of ceremonial faceoff

 

How Stamkos’ injury affects all of hockey

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Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos broke his tibia on Monday.

By Brad Constant, Nov. 12, 2013

Tampa Bay Lightning forward and offensive powerhouse Steven Stamkos broke his tibia after crashing into the goal post while playing against the Boston Bruins as part of the Bruins’ Veterans’ Day game on Nov. 11. The impact on Stamkos and the Lightning is obvious, he is out three to six months, according to bleacherreport.com (watch the GIF here), and the team is without its leading scorer. But Stamkos’ injury affects more than just the Lightning, it affects all of hockey.

Mainly, the National Hockey League is without one of, if not the most, natural goal scorers in all of hockey. Stamkos’ name may not be as well known as Sidney Crosby’s, but the man can score goals. He scored 60 of them during the 2011-12 regular season and was tied for the league lead with Alex Steen at 14 goals so far this season (check out hkref.com for Stamkos’ full career stats).

Simply put, Stamkos is a joy to watch play hockey. He is Brett Hull-like in his ability to find open space. His shot, whether it be a slapper, wrist or snap shot, is a thing of beauty – all youngsters out there should try to emulate him. Plus he loves scoring so much it’s contagious.

It’s a pity that fans around the league won’t be able to see his talent till his return. Even worse is the fact that he may very well miss the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, a platform in which hockey fans worldwide could watch him score again and again. Team Canada will be fine since it’s, well, Canada…obviously. The Canadians are stacked with talent.

As hockey fans, we here at The Hockey Ref can only hope for Stamkos’ speedy recovery. We love watching him play, as long as it’s not against our favorite teams.

So have at it Steen, the stage is set for you to show us what you’ve got and win the scoring title this season.

Check out Yahoo! Sports for a video of his injury and obvious pain afterwords.